What To Avoid When Designing And Writing A Cover Letter

Sometimes, fixing the little things can offer the most benefit. Anyone writing a cover letter to a hiring rep should follow some golden rules before hitting start on the fax machine, licking that envelope shut, or hitting "Send" on that e-mail. Related: 7 Examples Of Fresh New Ways To Start Your Cover Letter Treat your cover letter like any piece of business correspondence. It should have a professional appearance, a professional tone, and possess accurate grammar and punctuation. Remember, you’re out to impress, not turn a job away. Your correspondence should command attention, and if it doesn’t, you’re virtually sabotaging the opportunities that took so long to uncover. Before sending, be sure to review your cover letter thoroughly. You’re looking for amateur mistakes; the kinds your competitors are making. Below is a list of errors to avoid:


1. Avoid sloppy copy

Visually, your letter should appear consistent and the content should be “tight.” The first impression given to any hiring agent is based upon overall appearance of the letter. The cover letter is the first item seen before proceeding onto the resume. Should a letter arrive on a hiring manager’s desk without consistent margins, font, pica and without effective writing, your candidacy just may be “dead in the water.”

2. Avoid listing unrelated skills and qualifications

Weigh every sentence contained in your letter, and ask yourself two key questions. Does each sentence add to my candidacy? Am I fully relaying my quality and value without that particular sentence? If so, you probably don’t need that sentence in question. Mention only significant skills or achievements that pertain to your current position — or in accordance with the scope of the target position. Including irrelevant information can leave a negative impression, so be selective on what you list.

3. Avoid forgetting to input contact name

By failing to list the basics, like a contact name, you’re showing a lack of attention to detail; and possibly worse, allowing the document to float around the company rather than sitting on the right person’s desk — or in a general e-mail account currently neglected by an overworked secretary. Yes, there are instances where a company doesn’t list a contact name within job postings. To ensure your resume and cover letter make it into the right hands, consider placing a call to the company or contacting your area Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to find a proper name to place in your correspondence. Take care to include the proper spelling for the recipient’s name, and to include the correct position title.

4. Avoid forgetting to verify the company’s address

While scouring the Internet or reading your area’s newspaper, how many typos do you uncover? Never assume what’s listed is 100% accurate. In fact, assume the address is incorrect until you verify otherwise. Visit the company’s website or scan the yellow pages to ensure the address you list is perfect.

5. Avoid using an unprofessional layout; use an appropriate business format only

Business formatting has always meant your letter contains certain elements... examples are: current date, contact name, company address, regarding line (RE:), salutation, and signature line. You only need to review two or three letters from your own mailbox to identify common features contained within proper letter formats. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

4 Inside Secrets To Writing A Great Cover Letter 5 Key Steps To A Cover Letter That Opens Doors 4 Rules For Every Resume   Photo Credit: Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less

All work and no play can create a tense and unwelcoming environment. Studies have shown that employers that offer additional perks have employees that are happier and more loyal to their place of employment. If you are looking for an employer that acknowledges how important it is to give its employees a place to de-stress and bond with their co-workers, check out these companies!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if you worked for an owner who micro-manages you my watching you work on camera and reading through your company emails.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less